“I'm not sure what's wrong,” said my doctor, a demure Chinese-American woman named Dr. Lu. “Besides fatigue, loss of appetite...”
“A general sense that the world is too tawdry and contingent to be worth engaging with,” I said.
“And some slight swelling of your intestines. You don't seem to be anemic. Any difficulty sleeping, concentrating, or urinating?”
“I don't believe so. I think I have Waning Openness to Experience Syndrome.”
“That's your third self-diagnosis this year,” Dr. Lu said, “after Unknown Etiology Dilemma and Justified Hypochondria Condition. We can try to control your symptoms, which is what most doctors would recommend.”
“What about you?” Dr. Lu’s opinions mattered to me.
She said, “There's a new treatment I'm interested in, but the theory behind it is still controversial. Our modern environment is so sterile, for the most part people no longer have internal parasites as we did for most of our evolutionary history. And some researchers think not all of those were parasitical relationships. Some could have been more...symbiotic.”
“What are you proposing?”
“Reintroducing intestinal dragons.” At first I thought I'd misunderstood Dr. Lu's accent. “Very small dragons, obviously. Only a millimeter long. They calm your immune system. The theory is that our intestines co-evolved with these species, so in their absence our metabolism may not function optimally.”
“Would this be considered alternative medicine?”